Archive for the ‘#AtoZChallenge’ Category


oin me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.


As Curtis walks down the hall toward his locker he is greeted with smiles, cheers, and high-fives! He’s a hero and he has learned to greet every smile with one of his own. Sometimes it’s really difficult to return those smiles and sometimes it is even difficult to make the walk down the hall, a hero’s walk, if you will.

Curtis doesn’t think he’s a hero. He just sort of fell into the role when the gym teacher discovered he was the quarterback his high school football team was severely lacking. They trained him to hone the natural skills and they build up the anticipation. When his father wouldn’t let him join the team, the coaches even talked to him and convinced him. And the glory days began. His popularity soared and everyone knew his name and his face.

But Curtis’ life didn’t feel like anything special. Sure, he was a great football player and he received the compliments and the pats on the back with outward gratitude. Inside Curtis hated the attention and he hated the physical pats on the back because they were almost always hurting the bruises that only the padding he wore during practice and games could protect. The kudos he received stopped when he walked in the door at home. Curtis missed the hugs and the love that had disappeared when his mother lost her battle with cancer. Cancer had taken his mom and Curtis’ happiness. It had also claimed his father. Once his mom was gone, Curtis’ dad was lost to drinking and bitterness and meanness. Curtis hated it but he felt sorry for his dad, and after all, he was his dad and he hadn’t always been cruel. It wasn’t his dad’s fault, just like it wasn’t his mom’s fault that she had gotten sick and died. It wasn’t anyone’s fault.

Curtis hated the attention but he made the most of it because it was his ticket out of the house and away from his father. That’s what he was thinking as he walked down the hallway smiling and high-fiving.




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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.


Barbara walked into the room. She had been standing at the door watching her grandmother sitting at the window looking out at nothing with a vacant look in her eyes. No one knew what she was seeing or what she was thinking. Grandma hadn’t been able to tell them that in a couple of years but Barbara never lost hope that one day her grandmother would be able to tell them something or recognize her.

Day after day, she sat at the window looking out at the wall of the adjacent building. Barbara wished she could have her moved to a room with a view where she could look out at the park behind the home, or even out at the street in front of the building. The Director said there were no rooms available so they had to wait. Barbara felt a little guilty because as she hoped for a vacancy, that meant someone would be dying because that was about the only way people left this place. But Barbara wanted a view for Grandma. She remembered all the times her grandmother would take her to parks to play and to the river for walks. Her grandmother had loved to watch people and make up imaginary stories about where they were off to when they left her view. At the park, Grandma would push her on the swings, even after she learned to pump her legs to swing herself. Grandma ran with her and laughed with her; she kissed her boo boos and held her tight. Grandma was the only one allowed to call her Babs. No one else could do that without getting a kick in the shins. Only Grandma. Barbara missed her so much.

She walked to Grandma and started talking to her. They said Grandma didn’t understand her but Barbara didn’t care. Barbara sat and talked to her and reminded her of the days they went to the park and the trips they used to take and she laughed for Grandma, even if Grandma couldn’t laugh for herself.

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a2z-h-smallJoin me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.


Just look at her! She thinks she knows it all but when I ask her even the simplest of questions, she doesn’t know the answers. Sure she knows how many ounces make a quart or how many cups in a gallon but does she know my next door neighbor’s name? That’s info I could really used! Does she even care that she is failing me when she can’t answer my questions?

That’what gets me. I’ll ask her a question and she’ll answer, “sorry, I don’t know that one, “but she doesn’t even sound sorry. It’s just a job to her. The other day, after four “I don’t knows” I got so mad that I pulled the plug. I stomped right over to the couch, pulled it away from the wall, reached for the plug and pulled it. That’ll teach her. Now she just sits there in that black cylinder, skulking because she can’t enlighten the world with her useless knowledge anymore!

Take that Alexa!


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Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Every year, between 133 million and 275 million children witness domestic violence in their home. What should this number be? Zilch.

In the United States, EACH DAY four children die as a result of child abuse or child neglect. How many children should die because of this? Zilch.

In the United States, four women per day are killed by someone who is supposed to love them and honor them. How many of these women should be killed? Zilch.

In the United States, 78% of the child fatalities due to child abuse and/or neglect are are a direct result of the parents. What should this number be? Zilch.

The statistics go on and on and on.

What can YOU do? Listen and watch for opportunities to make a difference in your community. Is there an election involving domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, or any other kind of abuse in your area? If so, speak up. Vote. Make a difference. Local communities need to do what they can do to make a difference. They can set up shelters, community centers, and inform the public. You can help make that happen. If you know someone who is being abused, you can help support them through it. You can make a difference in their life. You can help inform them. You can help make an escape plan. You can.

Until the statistics reach “zilch” we have to keep on working toward that number, doing anything we can to help the problem; to help the victims; to make survivors out of victims.

For the rest of the posts in this series, click here.

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What can YOU do to help someone who is abused?

First, remember that YOU don’t have to solve the problem, you just need to provide support.

Statistics tell us that it is VERY likely that you know someone who is abused. It might be your next door neighbor or you sister. It might be you student or your best friend. It might be your teacher or your student.

Know the numbers. Know who that abused person can call.

Be ready to help with child care so the person can seek help. Just know who she can call for child care. Be ready to help.

Let the victim know that you believe them and that you will be ready to keep their information private. Let them know that you care. Let them know you are there to support them  in any way you can.

Ask the person how you can help. You are not there to take over. You are not there to make decisions. You are there to provide support and information. They are the ones to make the decisions. Let them know that you are there for support and to help in any way you can. Let them make the decisions.

If a person chooses to stay in an abusive relationship, be there to support them. Don’t judge them. Just be there for them. It might not be the right time for them to leave. Just be there for them. Let them know you are there for them. Let them know you are a resource for them.

Recognize that they might not ever leave.


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Xenodochial means being friendly with strangers, kind of the opposite of xenophobic. How does that fit in with abuse? Well, that’s one of the traits of an abuser.

An abuser’s traits include:

Charming. An abuser is a charmer, someone who can impress strangers by their politeness, inclusiveness, friendliness. He/she is the last person someone would image would be abusive because he/she is soooo nice and soooo friendly and soooo easy going. To strangers, anyway.

Behind closed doors, an abuser is controlling, irresponsible, irritable, narcissistic, isolating, and impatient. He/she will not allow his/her partner to associate with friends or family because he/she wants to control everything their partner does. He/she thinks the world revolves around him/her and everything is about him/her. Everyone should be doing what the abuser wants them to do.

The abuser often is going from one project to another, seemingly unfocused on any one thing.

An abuser is often alcohol or drug dependent.

The abuser is usually someone with numerous failed relationships. He/she will abuse over and over again. They are often the type of person who will not be able to commit to a relationship, leaving one when things get tough (like a pregnancy, financial problems, the birth of a child, illness, etc.).

An abused adult may be someone that either was abused as a child or lived in an abusive household. He/she has learned to abuse from someone.

They often have a history of abuse related arrests.

They get more and more violent. Shoving becomes punching. Spousal abuse becomes child abuse.

They blame everyone else for their abuse, refusing to take responsibily for their abusive actions.

But to strangers, he/she is friendly, the perfect host, charming, nice, supportive. Xenodochial.

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Although I live in the United States and a lot of what I have posted has to do with the United States, abuse is by no means exclusive to the United States. Abuse is a worldwide problem.

According to the International Center for Assault Prevention (ICAP) approximately forty million children under the age of fifteen are victims of abuse or neglect. Internationally, up to 36% of girls and 29% of boys have suffered child sexual abuse. Between 133 and 275 million children worldwide are estimated to witness domestic violence annually.

According to Living Without Abuse (UK) domestic violence leads to an average of two women being murdered EACH WEEK and thirty men per year. The BBC reports that in the UK, one in ten children is neglected.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that, in developed countries, one in ten elder is abused each month. However, only one in twenty-four cases is reported so the estimates are considerably on the low side. In under-developed countries, the problem is far worse.

Pick any country and search for abuse statistics. You will be shocked. It is not an isolated problem. It is a worldwide pandemic.

Something needs to be done.

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Verbal abuse, while being very common, is difficult to spot. Often, a person doesn’t realize that they are being verbally abused. It can be very subtle. It can be passive aggressive comments. It can be constant sarcastic remarks.

  1. Molly and Jess have been married for a number of years. They have two children. He constantly makes comments about her weight. In fact, when she is nursing their first child, he wants her to go on a diet to lose the “baby weight” so she stops nursing to diet. She loses all the weight but he still calls her “fatso,” “chubs,” “baby whale,” and other names. When they go out to dinner, he waits until the food comes and she has the first bite on her fork ready to go in her mouth then he says “Are you sure you should be eating that?” Every single time. When they’re out in public, he won’t walk near her. He walks in front of her or behind her. When he sees someone who is very obese, he tells her that’s what she looks like, even though she is only five or six pounds overweight. He tells their kids to look at their fat mom. He tells her she has no will power and won’t ever lose the weight.
  2. Sharon and Bob have been in a relationship for six years. He constantly calls her “stupid” and “dumb” and “idiot.” Anything he sees as a mistake he blames on her and says it’s because she’s stupid. He laughs at her and jokes in front of their friends that she was too stupid to get in line when brains were handed out. He stalls when the subject of marriage comes up and tells her he’ll marry her when she loses her “stupidness.”
  3. Barbara and Henry have two pre-teen children. He verbally abuses her constantly. She puts up with it because of the kids. She doesn’t want to uproot them or make life difficult for them. So she stays. Recently, Henry has begun to call their 12 year old daughter “stupid.” He tells her she’s gaining weight and is going to be a “fat stupid pig” like her mother. He tells her she can’t do anything right and maybe if she weren’t so stupid she could figure out how to do things right. He calls her a “fat slob.”
  4. Tim is fifteen years old. His father is constantly criticizing everything he does. His school grades are not good enough. He doesn’t do his chores right. He’s too slow getting ready for school. He is not responsible. He can’t be trusted. He’s too dumb to be sent on errands. When he is sent on errands, his dad always finds something wrong with the results.

Why is verbal abuse so bad? It’s not just words. It is a constant undermining. It is a constant barrage of criticism. It is meant to make the person feel inferior to the one abusing. It causes low self-esteem. The person being verbally abused begins to believe the abusive words. They stop trying because they feel they won’t ever “get it right.”

Verbal abuse is often more destructive than physical abuse and always harder to spot.


For more posts on Abuse, click here.

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The other day I told you about Gloria (not her real name). Today I was going to write something entirely different but last night something happened that brings me to an update. A hopeful one.

Last night Sam hit her again. He had been drinking since the night before and all day yesterday. He blew up and started throwing things at her and yelling at her. He beat her with a shoe because he was “not going to lay a finger on her.” She took the boys into the bedroom and locked the door. He broke the door down. Apparently, the boys were screaming at him to stop and were very upset. The police were called and he was arrested but because he didn’t hit her with his fists, the arrest was for a misdemeanor harassment charge. He was to be booked and released as soon as he was sober. She called me and I spent the night with them in case he came back that during the night.

Today she is bruised and sore all over her back with shoe marks all over. The boys are still talking about it, even the three year old. She says she won’t allow him back in again. The kids were there and upset. The first thing one of the boys said to me last night was “Daddy is never coming back home again. He hurt Mommy and I was yelling at him ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’ and I was crying.” We watched a movie and he kept talking about it during the movie, obviously upset about it. So I am hopeful that she won’t let him back home. He’ll be under a “No Contact” order until he goes to Court. He’s actually on probation from the first charge three years ago so we are hoping they will terminate his probation and make him serve the full jail term. That will keep him locked up for a couple of years. Enough time for them to move on. I know it won’t be easy for them but they will be so much better off without him constantly causing fear in her and the boys.

Join me in crossing my fingers and saying a silent prayer that Gloria sticks to it this time. This has to be the last time.

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How do child molestors get their victims to go along with what is happening? They tell lies. They tell the child what the childl needs to hear. Sometimes they promise them something or buy them something.

Here’s a true story. It might be a downer but it shows a bit how they operate and how molestation can occur with lots of people around.

Marina is four years old and she is one of many children in her family. She is often forgotten because she’s not the one that is clamoring for attention, positive or negative attention. She’s just there, doing what she’s supposed to be doing, being a kid. One day her grandparents come to visit them. They travel by Greyhound across several states and Marina is really happy to have them come to visit. Her family doesn’t have anyone else around. All the uncles, aunts, and cousins live several states away so having Gramma and Granpa visit is really special. When they get there, Granpa keeps winking at Marina and telling her that she is prettier than her sisters. He has her come over and put her hand in his pocket to pull out a coin. He tells her he’ll give her more money so she can buy a doll.

He does that several times a day. Gives her money. Compliments her. Tells her she’s his favorite and tells her she’s the prettiest. One night, the whole family is watching home movies in the living room. The lights are turned off and there’s no place for Marina to sit because her siblings are fighting with her and they won’t let her sit next to them on the floor. Granpa says she can sit on his lap and pulls her toward him. She sits on his lap as the movies play on the TV and as everyone talks and her dad tells what is going on with the movies he took of the family.

Granpa keeps whispering in Marina’s ear. Telling her lies. He pulls her hand and holds it for a few minutes then he puts it in his pocket. She starts to pull her hand out of Granpa’s pocket and he doesn’t let her. He holds it tightly and whispers that she’s his special girl and that he has dollars to give her so she can buy her doll. She settles down and Granpa puts her hand on something inside her pants. It’s hard and kind of like a stick. He pulls her hand up and down the stick and makes her do it…makes her keep rubbing her hand up and down the stick. He whispers for her not to stop and to do it faster. The lights are off and no one can see. She feels funny rubbing on the stick in Granpa’s pocket but there’s no one lookiing and no one to tell because it’s dark and everyone is talking and laughing. Granpa holds her hand tight and guides it up and down, faster and faster and she can feel the breath coming from Granpa…harder and harder, more and more breath, the little noises. Finally, he lets her go and says he will be right back and she should go sit on the floor now.

They stay more days and Marina doesn’t feel right. She doesn’t want to get too close to Grandpa. It’s in the summer time and Marina and her brothers and sisters get to play outside in the water. They’re all wearing sunsuits and getting wet. When Marina’s straps get untied, Granpa is watching and says she should come to him so he can tie the straps. She does and he stands in front of her with his back to everyone else and he takes her straps to tie them but before he ties them he smiles at her and puts his fingers on her chest and pinches. He smiles and pinches some more and then he rubs her chest on the brown spots and pinches again before he ties her straps. No one sees. Marina wants to cry but Granpa says don’t cry. You’re my favorite girl. Tomorrow we can go buy a doll. Don’t cry. Shhh. Shhh. It’s okay. It’s our secret. Shhh. Shhh.

For more poss on Abuse, click here.


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